‘What kind of writer do you want to be?’
This is a question that comes up frequently in a number of the writer’s groups I’m a member of. It leads to lots of discussion and the answers always vary but more often than not there are three common themes that my fellow writers want. To be published, successful and independently wealthy.
Over the past few months I’ve been warring with myself over this very topic. Do I write what I know will sell, or do I write what I really want to write? If I write what I know will sell the chances are higher of me having commercial success and building a bigger name for myself. But if I write what I really want to write it probably won’t be as popular, it might be written in a style not preferred by readers of my genre and at times it will probably tackle some topics that people don’t like to discuss.
I found my answer this evening in a way I didn’t expect. I’d just read a review of At First Light by a fellow author who read it in exchange for a review. This is not an uncommon thing to happen between authors. It’s no different than book reviewers who receive free books in exchange for honest reviews, and not to mention sites like NetGalley which are specifically designed for this purpose.
The author who read my book doesn’t usually read my genre and was upfront about it. While she gave me a generous rating I felt that what I received and what she genuinely wanted to give me were probably two different things. And that was the moment it hit me.
I want to be the kind of writer who is true to herself.
I want to have enough courage to write the stories I want to tell. Sure, I want to sell books but it’s not the dominating reason why I write. I love creating worlds, the people who live in them and the situations they face. I write because I enjoy the process. From concept to draft to editing to publishing. For me, there’s no point doing any of it if I’m not truly happy with what I’m producing.
So as I continue to work on my current novel, and yes, there is one on the way, I’m feeling a peace with my writing I haven’t felt for months.
And it feels good.